Watauga River Fishing Report

The headwaters of the 78.5 mile long Watauga, begin at Peak Mountain in North Carolina on the western slope of the Eastern Continental Divide, and end at its confluence with the South Fork of the Holston River. This trout filled tributary of the Holston is a mere 1 hour, scenic drive from Asheville.


Managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) the Watauga, like most rivers in the watershed, is affected by dams, water releases and reservoirs. The Watauga Dam created the 6,430 acre Watauga Lake. Three miles further down river, are the much smaller Wilbur Dam and Lake, used during the summer to release water back into the river. The  20 mile tailwater from Wilbur Dam to Boone lake is the most prized trout fishing part of the river.

Like other tailwaters in the region, the temperature remains between 50 to 55 degrees most of the year, providing great habitat for trout. The Tennessee Valley Resource Authority (TVRA) stocks the tailwater with rainbows, brooks and browns alongside a small population of wild trout. Most fish are in the 12 inch range although much larger fish are there to be caught. Estimates range from 2,000 to 5,000 fish per mile.

Depending on water releases the river can be waded although it’s advisable to get a TVA discharge schedule before entering the water. Wading access can be limited since property holders own the riverbed and can deny entry. The water may be fished at any time from a small boat, although due to shallow pools, you may want to keep one generator running if you use a drift boat. The river is composed of a few fast runs and long sections of rifles but large, long pools can also be found.
 
Featured Fishing Trips
Guided Fishing Trips
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Our float trips are for smallmouth bass and trout on the Holston, Watauga and French Broad Rivers. Floating these rivers allows you to cover more productive water, and water that is ... morenot accessible to wade fishing. During these trips you may have opportunities to get out of the raft and wade fish “back cuts” and special riffle areas that are known to hold better than average fish.

For these trips we recommend 5 weight or larger rods from 8 to 9 foot in length.

On float trips NO STUDDED wading boots are allowed and waders are recommended year round due to the constant cool water temperature.

This trip includes lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. Lodging and fishing licenses are not included.
$
375
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
The Watauga is one of our favorites. It is just an hour drive from Asheville, and we normally float the quality section through Watauga, TN. It is an incredibly diverse river both ... morein setting and bug life. One moment we are nymph fishing a slow section, the next fishing sulphur dry flies below a riffle, next casting beetles and ants under overhanging sycamores, and then nymph fishing deep whitewater runs. That is just the start. The Watauga is the river for you if you want to learn many different techniques.
$
350
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Fly Fishing in Asheville with Curtis Wright Outfitters will ensure the best opportunity for you to enjoy this unique area and catch and release some spectacular fish. Our guides are ... morefriendly and knowledgeable.

There’s no better way to experience the larger rivers of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee than in a boat. Float trips cover between 3-9 miles of river depending on the trip. So whether you are experienced or a novice, float trips are a great way to see a lot of scenery while catching fish. You will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fishing, as our experienced guides lead you down one of these scenic rivers for an unforgettable trip.

Floating is preferred by many as the most effective way to fish the larger rivers of WNC. The Tuckaseegee River offers great scenery and fishing from October to June. The Watauga and South Holston are big, beautiful tailwaters offering dry fly, nymph and streamer action year round. The French Broad and Nolichucky are home to an abundance of very large smallmouth that can be taken on the fly or with spin gear. Smallmouth bass fishing is best from March to December. Whatever fish species you are interested in targeting, a float trip is an epic way to spend a day!
$
350
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
The Watauga river is located in east Tennessee near Johnson City and is just a hour north out of Asheville North Carolina. The Watauga river starts in Boone NC and flows west into ... moreeast Tennessee into Watauga lake. After it comes out of Wilbur dam it flows and winds for 22 miles of blue ribbon trout fishing water.

The Watauga river is a tail water, which is dam released off of the bottom of the lake providing cold water and great trout fishing year round. There are large numbers of wild and stocked brown and rainbow trout. There are consistent blue wing olive and midge hatches year round and huge caddis hatches in the spring and sulphurs through the summer months. The Watauga river has a wide deep river bed providing great float fishing trips for all anglers and skill levels.

Let Asheville Anglers float you down river for a Watauga river fly fishing trip of a lifetime. Whether you are in western North Carolina or east Tennessee the Watauga river is a great choice for any fisherman.
Additional Information
Tributaries:
The Watauga River is a tributary of the Holston River
Source:
Grandfather Mountain, Peak Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina
Mouth:
Holston River
Length:
79 miles
Game Fish Opportunities
Fishing Trips
  • Experienced, knowledgeable fishing guide
  • Equipment is provided
  • Lunch, drinks, and snacks included
Enjoy a private, guided fly fishing trip wading in one of the most beautiful rivers and streams in the backyard of Asheville's mountains. Our professional guides assist you as you ... morewade for trophy trout and wild trout on the Watauga River in North Carolina. Our trips include all fishing equipment, waders, boots and more.
Our float trips are for smallmouth bass and trout on the Holston, Watauga and French Broad Rivers. Floating these rivers allows you to cover more productive water, and water that is ... morenot accessible to wade fishing. During these trips you may have opportunities to get out of the raft and wade fish “back cuts” and special riffle areas that are known to hold better than average fish.

For these trips we recommend 5 weight or larger rods from 8 to 9 foot in length.

On float trips NO STUDDED wading boots are allowed and waders are recommended year round due to the constant cool water temperature.

This trip includes lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. Lodging and fishing licenses are not included.
The Watauga is one of our favorites. It is just an hour drive from Asheville, and we normally float the quality section through Watauga, TN. It is an incredibly diverse river both ... morein setting and bug life. One moment we are nymph fishing a slow section, the next fishing sulphur dry flies below a riffle, next casting beetles and ants under overhanging sycamores, and then nymph fishing deep whitewater runs. That is just the start. The Watauga is the river for you if you want to learn many different techniques.
Fly Fishing in Asheville with Curtis Wright Outfitters will ensure the best opportunity for you to enjoy this unique area and catch and release some spectacular fish. Our guides are ... morefriendly and knowledgeable.

There’s no better way to experience the larger rivers of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee than in a boat. Float trips cover between 3-9 miles of river depending on the trip. So whether you are experienced or a novice, float trips are a great way to see a lot of scenery while catching fish. You will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fishing, as our experienced guides lead you down one of these scenic rivers for an unforgettable trip.

Floating is preferred by many as the most effective way to fish the larger rivers of WNC. The Tuckaseegee River offers great scenery and fishing from October to June. The Watauga and South Holston are big, beautiful tailwaters offering dry fly, nymph and streamer action year round. The French Broad and Nolichucky are home to an abundance of very large smallmouth that can be taken on the fly or with spin gear. Smallmouth bass fishing is best from March to December. Whatever fish species you are interested in targeting, a float trip is an epic way to spend a day!
Fly Fishing in Asheville with Curtis Wright Outfitters will ensure the best opportunity for you to enjoy this unique area and catch and release some spectacular fish. Our guides are ... morefriendly and knowledgeable.

There’s no better way to experience the larger rivers of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee than in a boat. Float trips cover between 3-9 miles of river depending on the trip. So whether you are experienced or a novice, float trips are a great way to see a lot of scenery while catching fish. You will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fishing, as our experienced guides lead you down one of these scenic rivers for an unforgettable trip.

Floating is preferred by many as the most effective way to fish the larger rivers of WNC. The Tuckaseegee River offers great scenery and fishing from October to June. The Watauga and South Holston are big, beautiful tailwaters offering dry fly, nymph and streamer action year round. The French Broad and Nolichucky are home to an abundance of very large smallmouth that can be taken on the fly or with spin gear. Smallmouth bass fishing is best from March to December. Whatever fish species you are interested in targeting, a float trip is an epic way to spend a day!
The Watauga river is located in east Tennessee near Johnson City and is just a hour north out of Asheville North Carolina. The Watauga river starts in Boone NC and flows west into ... moreeast Tennessee into Watauga lake. After it comes out of Wilbur dam it flows and winds for 22 miles of blue ribbon trout fishing water.

The Watauga river is a tail water, which is dam released off of the bottom of the lake providing cold water and great trout fishing year round. There are large numbers of wild and stocked brown and rainbow trout. There are consistent blue wing olive and midge hatches year round and huge caddis hatches in the spring and sulphurs through the summer months. The Watauga river has a wide deep river bed providing great float fishing trips for all anglers and skill levels.

Let Asheville Anglers float you down river for a Watauga river fly fishing trip of a lifetime. Whether you are in western North Carolina or east Tennessee the Watauga river is a great choice for any fisherman.
The Watauga river is located in east Tennessee near Johnson City and is just a hour north out of Asheville North Carolina. The Watauga river starts in Boone NC and flows west into ... moreeast Tennessee into Watauga lake. After it comes out of Wilbur dam it flows and winds for 22 miles of blue ribbon trout fishing water.

The Watauga river is a tail water, which is dam released off of the bottom of the lake providing cold water and great trout fishing year round. There are large numbers of wild and stocked brown and rainbow trout. There are consistent blue wing olive and midge hatches year round and huge caddis hatches in the spring and sulphurs through the summer months. The Watauga river has a wide deep river bed providing great float fishing trips for all anglers and skill levels.

Let Asheville Anglers float you down river for a Watauga river fly fishing trip of a lifetime. Whether you are in western North Carolina or east Tennessee the Watauga river is a great choice for any fisherman.
Current Forecast
Water Flow
0 reviews   0 comments
Fishing Quality
Scenery
Access
Water quality

Discover Your Own Fishing and Hunting Adventures

With top destinations, guided trips, outfitters and guides, and river reports, you have everything you need.